Yay! First 260,000 Visits!

Even if having a blog hiatus for more than two months, I still reached another milestone. Today I celebrate my 260,000th visits since I created this in 2008! Hooray!

English: Filipino Sign Language Font
English: Filipino Sign Language Font (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I now have 365 posts, 967 comments, 23 categories and 752 tags. I also have 199 active followers (up from 40), 51 comment followers and  Facebook readers! I had 280 shares, majority of which are from Facebook.

My top referrer is still Google Search followed closely by Deafread.com. My Facebook links now overtook WordPress tags on the third place, fifth from our school’s official website and sixth from deafvideo.tv.

My top search engine term remains the same. Deaf Icon Marlee Matlin followed by “Dinig Sana Kita“, a Filipino movie about being deaf, Heather Whitestone and Filipino Sign Language. My most popular blog post is still about the most popular Filipino Person With Disability, ex-governor Grace Padaca followed by Spider-man with I-love-you Sign while my most popular video log post (vlog) remains the Philippine National Anthem in Filipino Sign Language. However, my top search for this month is “successful person with disability in the Philippines.”

Thank you very very much to my dear readers for staying patient with me! Now, on to my first 280,000th visitors! 🙂

 

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ANC gives the deaf a voice

This is a repost from The Philippine Star. The article even mentioned our school. Great! 🙂

ANC gives the deaf a voice
(The Philippine Star) Updated March 21, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0)View comments
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From left: Deaf consultant Maria Rowena Rivera, sign language interpreters Catherine Villareal and John Baliza singing letters ANC
| Zoom

MANILA, Philippines – When the sign language interpreters of Chief Justice on Trial: the ANC Coverage first encountered the term “subpoena duces tecum” and other obscure legal terms, they had to text colleagues who were off-duty and scrabble for the nearest dictionary to find out their meaning and devise ways to interpret them.

Nine weeks into the legalese-heavy trial, the interpreters-instructors from De La Salle’s College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (CSB-SDEAS) and Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters (PNASLI) still get on with their preparation practices before they sit on-air at 2 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays — bring a dictionary, consult with lawyers and the deaf community, and on their off days, meet and discuss difficult legal phrases and the best ways to “sign” them.

Two sign language interpreters take turn every 20 minutes on a single trial day in interpreting the argument among the prosecution and defense panels and the senator-judges live. Off-camera, a deaf coordinator, a hearing coordinator — and at times, a legal consultant — synergize to ensure legal technicalities are correctly interpreted.

The initiative of ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, to fortify its uninterrupted coverage of the impeachment trial has spawned wider political participation by making information accessible to the deaf.

ANC has established itself as “the news channel” that delivers non-stop reportage of news events including the groundbreaking blow-by-blow coverage of the former Pres. Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s impeachment trial, a first on Philippine TV.

ANC managing director Ging Reyes expressed that the sign language initiative serves as another milestone for the news channel and recognizes that the deaf have a stake in the growth of the country.

Catherine Joy Villareal, an instructor at CSB-SDEAS and one of the interpreters, said the team has garnered significantly excellent reactions from the deaf community in provinces and even Filipinos abroad.

“We get to perform our roles, however little, in this historical event. Our goal is to serve the deaf community for them to be able to be aware of what’s happening and for them to have a voice. They participate in what’s happening through us and through ANC’s efforts,” she said.

ANC first incorporated sign language insets during the airing of President Benigno Aquino III’s 2010 and 2011 State of the Nation Addresses. Following positive feedback on the efforts, ANC once again tapped the CSB-SDEAS faculty to make sure the Filipino deaf community is not left out on the historic hearing.

The interpreting team also hopes to promote support for legislations that would require sign language insets in all newscasts and TV programs.

“The effort is significant in a sense that we’re making history not just for the deaf as a community but for the Philippines as a country. We’re slowly integrating the deaf into the society and opening opportunities to them,” said Oscar Sherlo Reyes, CSB-SDEAS’ coordinator for employment opportunities and one of the hearing coordinators in ANC’s coverage.

Aside from the CSB-SDEAS faculty and PNASLI, sign language interpreters from partner groups CAP College, Philippine Association of Interpreters for Deaf Empowerment and Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf also volunteer for ANC’s impeachment trial coverage.

 Chief Justice on Trial: the ANC Coverage airs on ANC (SkyCable Ch. 27) or online streamed live on  HYPERLINK “http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/cjontrial” http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/cjontrial, while those mobile can get instant updates by following @ANCALERTS on Twitter.

ANC News Channel Talkback: Breaking the Silence, Hearing the Deaf

Please watch this complete and informative video of Abs-cbn’s ANC News channel where Rep. Teddy Casino, Author, Sign Language Inset For News Programs Act,Dr. Liza Martinez, Founder/Director, Philippine Deaf Resource Center, Nicky Templo-Perez, Dean, College of St. Benilde – School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies and Macky Calbay, Representative of the Deaf Community were interviewed.

 

Impeachment Trial Summary in Filipino Sign Language

We are very fortunate to have the Impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona easily digested by the Filipino Deaf Community by watching this sign language video. This is courtesy of the Dela Salle College of St. Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies. Macky Calbay is the deaf signer. These videos are summaries from Week 1 covering January 16 – 19 and Week 2 for January 23 – 26. Enjoy 🙂

To go directly to their official blog site, visit http://deaf-e-news.blogspot.com/.

Impeachment trial in sign language

Guys I’d like to share with you a very informative and insightful article written by Sir Raul Pangalangan in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He explicitly discussed about the importance of utilizing sign language interpreters in getting the truth and protecting the rights of a deaf person. However, he also enumerated the problems it poses like the interpreting cost, interpreter’s competence and the admissibility of interpreted statements in courts.

Impeachment trial in sign language
By:

10:23 pm | Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

No, this is not about mysterious signals coming from the senator-judges or from the parties’ counsels about where the impeachment trial is going. This is literally about sign language, and the “inset” or the small box that you see on the TV screen if you watch via ANC, showing an interpreter who translates the proceedings in sign language for the deaf. This is a triumph for Filipino deaf rights advocates, but they have a long journey ahead.

According to Dr. Liza Martinez, founder and director of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center, sign language insets appeared on Philippine TV for the first time on Channel 5 for the 2010 State of the Nation Address of President Aquino, his very first. That same channel has since sustained these pioneering insets in its early evening, one-hour news program. Another channel, ABS-CBN, has also used sign language insets, but only in their Central Visayas and Davao news broadcasts and not yet for programs that are broadcast nationwide.

There is now a pending bill before Congress, the Sign-language Insets for News Programs Act, that will make these insets mandatory. The existing law, the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (Republic Act 7277), states the obligation rather softly: TV stations are “encouraged to provide a sign language inset or subtitles in at least one newscast program a day and special programs covering events of national significance.” It classifies “qualified interpreters [for] individuals with hearing impairments” as “auxiliary aids or services.”

The proposed sign-language insets act will convert the Magna Carta’s hortatory clause into a binding obligation. Sponsored by Reps. Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño (Bayan Muna Party-List), it will require sign-language TV news insets, noting that the inset is preferred over subtitles or captions because less than 5 percent of the reported 120,000 deaf Filipinos are literate. Last week, Doctor Martinez testified before a congressional committee that the networks should be given a choice between the inset and captions, hopefully to make it more acceptable to the networks and likewise enable them to adapt to the variable literacy levels of deaf people in the Philippines.

Over the years, I have heard of the travails of deaf Filipinos. There was that case about the deaf rape victim who testified about her ordeal through a sign-language interpreter. Her complaint was thrown out on the ground that it relied on hearsay evidence. Hearsay evidence from the rape victim herself? Yup, you got that right. The hearsay rule says: “A witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge; that is, which are derived from his own perception.” So when the sign language interpreter spoke, the stupid prosecutor asked him: Did you actually witness the rape? These lawyers should be taught that signing is a language in itself, no different from Spanish or Chinese or Filipino. Going by this ridiculous episode, all testimony that has to be translated is intrinsically hearsay!

There was also the deaf man who was invited to Qatar for a training seminar precisely for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). He was barred at Naia by an immigration officer (now under investigation) who questioned the authenticity of his trip because he was deaf. And finally there is that series of cases where deaf passengers were either barred from boarding or off-loaded even after they had boarded their planes.

The mandatory inset for sign language interpreters is merely the first step. The Supreme Court (assuming the Chief Justice takes kindly to the “signing”) should likewise require courts to provide sign language interpreters for deaf witnesses. Without such an order, deaf witnesses can testify only by hiring and paying for their own interpreters. That poses several problems.

First, there is the problem of cost. This is tantamount to putting a price tag on the truth. It would be naïve to think that that price tag wasn’t there from the outset; the cost of litigation goes way beyond the professional fees of the lawyers, and goes into the invisible costs and risks that the victim pays by deciding to go into battle. But one cost, i.e., sign language translation, must be borne by the state if it is to make good on the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment and the international obligation of non-discrimination against PWDs.

Second, there is the regulation of the sign language interpreters themselves. There is the issue of competence. Without a Supreme Court regulation, any Tom, Dick and Harry can purport to translate the “sign” testimony. There is also the issue of ethics. What if the Tom, Dick or Harry is so good he can improve the testimony or, worse, embellish or distort it? We need a system of accreditation to replace the open but loose market that exists today.

Third, the Supreme Court regulation should clear the way, once and for all, for the admissibility of sign language translations. The hearsay rule applies to the witness himself or herself, not to the interpreter who merely translates what the witness says into a language that the court can understand.

ANC’s sign language inset for impeachment trial is historic twice over, and apart from the Constitution and the laws, is just about the most public recognition that, in a trial on public accountability, the deaf Filipino must be heard.

(Today, Doctor Martinez presents the results of her study on Philippine cases of anti-deaf discrimination. It will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the UP College of Social Work & Community Development.)

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